BULK handler GrainCorp has put out a call for more harvest casuals as it attempts to take grain as quickly as possible, acutely aware of the La Nina weather pattern and looking to minimise the chance of further weather damage.
GrainCorp senior grower services manager Nick Chambers said his company had identified staff shortages, particularly in its southern zone, that could see a loss of efficiency.
"We've got enough staff to run our operations, but it is getting the numbers to put on those extra shifts and stay open those extra hours to allow the growers to get the crop in quicker," Mr Chambers said.
He said the big east coast crop, combined with the November floods, had created logistical difficulties in staffing sites.
"There are a few things in play at present making it difficult, we've got a massive crop, which is fantastic news, but it means the sites are all very busy," he said.
"We also have had the floods which have delayed harvest in the north, which means when farmers in those areas get back onto their paddocks and start harvesting again we're going to have a massive area all going at 'peak harvest' when usually it moves gradually from north to south."
Mr Chambers also said flooded rivers had caused issues with the movement of staff and site equipment.
"We usually have some staff that will follow the harvest down as it goes along, this year, even though border restrictions have eased between Victoria and NSW we had more physical problems as they just can't get through flooded areas."
"We've got a number of people who are stranded until the water recedes."
Mr Chambers said with Victorian harvest now heating up it had been identified as a key area to get more staff.
"We're asking anyone who wants a job over the harvest to get in touch and we'll be able to conduct the training onsite and get them working faster to meet grower demand," he said.
"After seeing the issues with the NSW harvest and the rain growers are keen to get the crop off as quick as possible and to do this they need to be able to deliver as efficiently as they can, so if we can attract those extra staff and run additional shifts it is going to be a big help in allowing them to do that," he said.
Mr Chambers said similar to the pre-harvest recruiting campaign GrainCorp would be targeting tertiary students back at home for the holidays and grey nomads as a potential workforce.
"It is difficult to fill jobs across agriculture at present whatever you're doing but we've had some really good successes with our harvest casuals and hopefully we can find a few more to help in Victoria in the next couple of weeks," he said.
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